The Health Edge: Essential Fats-Is it time for an oil change?

In this episode of The Health Edge John and Mark review the importance of essential fats and in particular, the ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 fats and their impact on human health. John and Mark offer suggestions for how best to optimize this ratio of essential fats.

Omega-3 fatty acid foods

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Essential Fatty Acids show notes

3 thoughts on “The Health Edge: Essential Fats-Is it time for an oil change?

  1. Marianne

    I have been interested in the topic of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for a couple of years, ever since I was diagnosed with an eye condition and learned that the body’s highest concentration of DHA Omega-3 is found in the retina of the eye. It’s been hard for me to come up with information that is comprehensible and actionable. Thank you so much for this podcast, with its wealth of information important to me (both the big picture about how the cell membranes are implicated and also the suggested dos and don’ts) — and now in transcript form too! Hallelujah!

    John, you suggested limiting the dietary intake of poultry because commercially raised chicken and turkeys are fed a lot of grain and thus their meat products are high in Omega 6s. You’ve mentioned in other podcasts that eggs are very nutrient-dense and that you eat several eggs many or most days. There are lots of terms used on egg cartons, such as pastured, free range, cage free, Omega-3 enriched, organic. What criteria do you prioritize in buying eggs?

    Someone told me a couple of months ago that she cooks most meals at home because that’s the only way she can control the oils and the cooking process. You don’t know what you’re getting when you eat out or take out.

    Again, I greatly appreciate this gem of a podcast.

    • Hi Marianne,
      Sure, eggs are limited in how much omega 6s that they can contain because the mother hen’s body will only allow so much to be diverted into the egg yolk (if this were not regulated there wouldn’t be many healthy chicks born in commercial operations!). Therefore, even the eggs of chickens fed only grain have a definite ceiling of omega 6 content. That being said, there are so many positive changes that take place nutritionally as a chicken is fed less grain and has access to more green plants and grass. They need this forage for a healthy microbiome, less inflammation, and of course their eggs pick up considerably more micronutrients and omega 3s. I only recommend buying eggs from chickens that are continuously offered pasture. These should be labeled pasture-raised (cage-free means almost nothing these days, all natural even less). You also want the chickens to be fed an organic ration that is tested to be free of GMOs. This is a long list of criteria, I know! Maddening really wen we think about it. Glyphosates are showing up in most commercial poultry products at higher and higher levels, so this is high on my radar as a concern. The damage that glyphosates will one day be shown to cause are unimaginable if we are to read the writing on the wall.
      I have always had my own chickens, barring the years when I was an undergraduate, so I have always taken quality eggs for granted. This past weekend I had to stay in NYC and buy eggs. It was a new experience. The eggs were 8.99 a dozen. I suspect that anything less than 7.00 per dozen will have several deficiencies in the healthy criteria. Even at this price, $0.75 a piece, I would argue that they may be the best bargain in our current food supply.
      I agree with the importance of oil choice and how restaurants really try to cut costs with lower quality oils, olive included. It is probably the single biggest reason to stick with salads, dressing on the side or held completely, and poached wild fish for whatever meals you can.
      Great to hear from you Marianne!
      Cheers, John

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